Stencil Ideas, Guides, and Information

Create a DIY Etched Glass

Create a DIY Etched Glass

I got busy the other day on a recent Goodwill come-up. That's right, this whole operation only cost your boy around ten bones - $8 for the etching cream and $2 for the glass. 

Side note: Some particular Goodwill stores carry some serious heat. I came out strong on this day with... I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but I walked out of there with about $35 worth of merch. But OK, you gotta give me some credit... It was my BIRTHDAY so let's just say I splurged on myself. It's not quite Drake blowing "six million on myself and I feel amazing," but it's a start. 

OK, let's get to it. Disclaimer: My sister is telling me my photoshoot results are below the excellent quality y'all have come to know and expect, so expect an update with some better lighting coming in the near future.

What you need:

  • Etching cream
  • Paint brush
  • Adhesive stencil with the design of your choice
  • Surface to be etched (glass, metal cup, etc.)
  • Contact paper
  • Small hook or blade or fingernails (for weeding the stencil)

What you do:

  1. Cut a sample of contact paper that is slightly larger than the surface area of your stencil.
  2. Lay the stencil on a flat, clean surface. Attach the contact paper to the front surface of the stencil so no part of the stencil is exposed.
  3. Remove the paper backing from the stencil.
  4. Attach the adhesive stencil to the glass or cup. Make sure the design is where you want it.
  5. Use a coin, your fingernails, or anything hard to make sure the adhesive on the back of the stencil clings to the surface of your cup. This is important because you don’t want any parts of the design to come up when you remove the contact paper.
  6. Slowly peel the contact paper from the top surface of the stencil. Make sure the stencil lays as flat as possible.
  7. Use the weeding hook to remove the areas of the stencil’s design you want to appear etched into the glass.
  8. Ensure again that the stencil is as flat against the surface as possible.
  9. Use the paintbrush and the etching cream to cover the exposed areas of the stencil design. Apply a very thick layer of etching cream. You should not be able to see the etching surface or the stencil through the areas where the cream is applied.
  10. Wait five minutes.
  11. Run everything under the sink to remove the etching cream.
  12. Remove the stencil.

What I did: Step by Step with Pictures and Notes

I started from square one on this puppy. In my notes for you above, you need to get your hands on an adhesive-backed stencil. The boys in R&D are working on it as you read this. Soon enough you'll be able to cop these from Stencil Stop.

Anyway, I designed the thing under strict adult supervision from my girlfriend. She wanted this "Everyday California" logo on a glass:

Stencil Stop Everyday California

So I threw that thing in Adobe Illustrator, then into Silhouette Studio and cut it out on some vinyl, which is currently the material we're testing for glass etching stencil products.

Stencil Stop Silhouette Curio Vinyl Cuttin

Cut a sample of contact paper that is slightly larger than the surface area of your stencil.

Lay the stencil on a flat, clean surface. Attach the contact paper to the front surface of the stencil so no part of the stencil is exposed. 

Etched Glass Do It Yourself DIY

Remove the paper backing from the stencil.

Stencil Stop Removing Adhesive Backing from Stencil

Attach the adhesive stencil to the glass or cup. Make sure the design is where you want it.

Use a coin, your fingernails, or anything hard to make sure the adhesive on the back of the stencil clings to the surface of your cup. This is important because you don’t want any parts of the design to come up when you remove the contact paper.

What's important here is that you reeeeeally make sure that this thing is stuck down on your etching surface.

Slowly peel the contact paper from the top surface of the stencil. Make sure the stencil lays as flat as possible.

When I did this, if a part of the stencil started coming off the surface with the contact paper, I reversed the direction of the contact paper and laid a little back down, then I again pressed and scratched the area with a coin until it no longer popped up.

Use the weeding hook to remove the areas of the stencil’s design you want to appear etched into the glass.

Stencil Stop Weeding an Adhesive Stencil Negative

 As you can see here, Nicole is using her fingernails, so you can just do that too and it'll probably get the job done.

Ensure again that the stencil is as flat against the surface as possible.

Stencil Stop Adhesive Stencil Applied to Etched Glass

It's okay that you stencil has bubbles or wrinkles in it. But you need to make sure that these don't exist directly next to the exposed areas of your etching surface. The etching cream is a liquid, so it can wiggle it's way into crevasses and leak down under the stencil, causing your etching to look messy.

Use the paintbrush and the etching cream to cover the exposed areas of the stencil design. Apply a very thick layer of etching cream. You should not be able to see the etching surface or the stencil through the areas where the cream is applied.

Stencil Stop Applying Glass Etching Cream to Adhesive Stencil

I used a dabbing technique as opposed to brushing back and forth. As you can see, the cream is so thick, you can't see what's below it. I've done this before without applying the right amount of etching cream, and the result has been subpar, so make sure your application looks like it does above.

We realized I accidentally chopped off the star part of the logo (whoops), so I cut one out really quickly on the Curio and stitched it back onto the glass.

Stencil Stop Applying Adhesive Star Stencil

Wait five minutes.

Run everything under the sink to remove the etching cream.

Remove the stencil.

Stencil Stop DIY Etched Glass Everyday California

Stencil Stop DIY Etched Glass Everyday California

Stencil Stop DIY Etched Glass Everyday California

There you have it. As you can see, not perfect, but looks pretty dang cool overall.

Like I said, we're working on a way to sell these adhesive stencils in our shop to help y'all out with projects like this! Expect something in the next six weeks or so.

Need a custom stencil for your next big project? We can help.

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